Today, the music world is mourning the loss of jazz legend and actress Lena Horne, who died at New York-Presbyterian Hospital last night (May 9) at the age of 92. The first African American to sign an extensive Hollywood movie contract, the incomparable singer/actress influenced a generation of stars.
“Lena Horne is the reason that I, along with many others of my generation, have had so many opportunities in our lives,” Kelly Rowland told VIBE in a statement. “Her impact on the world cannot be measured and she will be missed. I will keep her family and friends in my prayers.”
Singer Ciara saw Horne—who starred in films like The Duke is Tops, Cabin in the Sky and The Wiz—as a role model for Black women in music and Hollywood. The word “class” is used often in describing the legend.
“Lena Horne truly epitomized the words class, style, glamour and priceless. She blazed a trail for me and so many others,” says Ciara. “She will truly be missed but her legacy will never be forgotten!”
Actress Tasha Smith adds, “I’ve always admired Lena Horne and it truly saddened me when I heard the news of her passing. As a Black actress in Hollywood, I would not have the opportunities today had she not blazed the trail for me. She was a remarkable woman who had such style, class and beauty. And she had lots of spunk, too, which I loved. She was a legend in her own time and it is a great loss for fans like me around the world.”
A Lena Horne biopic has reportedly been in the works for years, with Janet Jackson and Alicia Keys rumored to play the classic crooner at one point and Oprah Winfrey producing. —Clover Hope, with Additional Reporting by Jamal Munnerlynn